Thursday, 24 March 2011

Christian Maturity

Francis: Wholehearted in following Christ

St Francis was a man who was wholehearted about whatever he did. Before his conversion he was full of enthusiasm for becoming a famous knight. But after he had found Christ, or better still when Christ had captured his heart - he lived his life fully for the Lord. This dedication allowed God's grace to deepen and mature him. 

The Scriptures speak often of maturity in our walk with God.  In one of the psalms God laments that His people are like “a bow the which the archer cannot count on” (78:57). They are undependable. A steady spirit is a sign of a mature spirit, of a person who knows the direction in life to take and sticks with it.

The Scriptures speak often of Christian maturity. “Our greatest wish and prayer is that you will become mature Christians” (2Corinthians 13:9). “We are not meant to remain children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching… But we are meant to speak the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ the Head” (Ephesians 4:14).

The ultimate goal of spiritual growth is to become more and more like Christ as child and servant of the Father, alive in the Holy Spirit. This is God’s plan for us from the beginning. “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29). God wants every believer to develop the character of Christ.
It is at this point that many of us can miss out on God’s  full dream for our lives. Some of us fear to commit to anything and so just drift through life. Others of us can end up making half-hearted commitments to competing values. A simple example: a person may decide at the beginning of Lent that she will give more time to prayer or reading the Bible. But her commitment to television, shown by the amount of time spent in front of the box, goes unchanged. The result is frustration and mediocrity.

 A clear purpose not only defines what we do, it also defines what we don’t do. “The life of a person of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn” (James 1:8). An indecisive Christian is an unsteady Christian.  Something for us all to think about as Lent continues.